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The flying-class divide: Walks of shame, flights of fancy

The Business Class is strategic in its positioning, and it invites its stakeholders to witness a parade from dress circle seats: that drill that takes place onboard after they get seated



by

Sushmita Bose

Published: Thu 24 Mar 2022, 6:21 PM

Recently, as I was leaving town for a long-overdue trip to India, there was that slightly crushing moment when a well-meaning friend dropping me to the airport asked: “Business [terminal] or Economy?” All he was wanting was clarity so he could drop me at the correct drop-off point in T3 — but I may have looked a bit shame-faced when I responded with “Economy”. Luckily, I had my face mask on so he probably wouldn’t have noticed my momentary setback, that immediately got me thinking about the ‘walk of shame’.

The First Class usually have nothing to do with walks of shame. One of the perks it fetches you is the fact that you don’t even have to notice the hoi polloi — because you are seated in a segmented section in front of the aircraft, and you have no truck with anyone else but your own kind.

The Business Class, on the other hand, is strategic in its positioning, and it invites its stakeholders to witness a parade from dress circle seats: that drill that takes place onboard after they get seated (because they obviously got first right of way into the aircraft) and Economy is herded in like cattle to reach the portion of the aircraft behind the business section where it’s all like a giant sprawl. The Business guys are already snug and comfy in their recliner thrones by now, glass of bubbly — or at least sparkling water — in hand, and been bestowed enough time to scrutinise those walking in: everyone cheek by jowl, trying to balance equanimity and poise alongside cabin baggage and usually failing, ending up looking either miserable or gauche.

There are things I do on reflex when I undertake the 15- or 20-metre trudge. I try and avoid eye contact with anyone seated in the hallowed portals; one time when I (accidentally) caught someone’s gaze, I thought she looked sneery and sympathetic at the same time. Maybe I imagined it. The mind plays weird games when you are doing the walk of shame.

I also pray I don’t bump into someone I know in Business Class. There’s a chance he/she will say, “Oh, you are sitting there” and gesticulate vaguely towards the back of beyond. Once, I did bump into someone, and she exclaimed, “Oh, I wish I’d known you were on the same flight — we could have had coffee somewhere… you know, I was sitting in the Business lounge all this while…”

I had asked another friend why he keeps put putting up status updates on that read: so-and-so checked into the ‘Business Class’ lounge at so-and-so airport. “Oh, the food is excellent,” he offered.

But why would you want to stuff yourself when there will be an excellent meal awaiting you the moment you board?

He had no answers.

sushmita@khaleejtimes.com


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